Riding for Oz

July 26th, 2018
Riding for Oz
There is a cliché that every little girl will incessantly pester her parents for a pony only to be left disappointed, ponyless and with one more experience to prove that no one gets everything they want.

But for 16 year old Lucy Blenkiron the dream came true.

Lucy, from Springton, has recently returned from competing in China to demonstrate the strength of Australian riders to the Chinese.

Even though she did not get to ride with her regular equine companion, Lucy still performed well.

“I went over to compete in showjumping which is different to what I normally do,” she said.

“It was challenging but a lot of fun having to adapt to horses that I wasn't used to.”

Lucy is proud of her individual results in China.

“I came second in one event and placed in a few others,” she said.

“There were 90 competitors in each event and, since it was the Chinese nationals, only eight of them were Australian riders.

“We came to show how good Australian riders are and an Australian placed in most events.”

The Australian squad also shared some of their expertise to developing Chinese riders.

“It's very different over there,” Lucy said.

“They have their pony club in the sixth storey of a major shopping centre and the stable is pretty much on top of a skyscraper.

“There's just not the same amount of space as we have here.”

Lucy usually competes in the Mounted Games which are lightning fast games that showcase the strength and speed of the ponies as well the finesse and control of their riders.

Last year, Lucy competed in the International Mounted Games in Canada.

She said the experience was different to her recent Chinese adventure.

“It was more about the competition and then lots of sight-seeing and fun as well.”

Lucy received her first horse when she was nine years old and remembers how much the experience taught her.

Her mother Kim said she remembers the moment they promised to buy Lucy a pony.

“We were lining up at the Magic Cave and it was a really long line and we said 'if you leave this line we’ll get you a lesson on a real horse.’”

“She loved the lessons so we started going every holiday and it started from there.”

The whole family has been able to travel on the back of Lucy’s riding success.

“When Lucy goes to Europe I’ll go with her,” Kim said.

“Not many parents get to go to Europe with their daughter.

“It’s a very family orientated sport and all the Europeans turn up in sports trucks and sleep in trucks and vans.

“We’re really looking forward to it.”

Along with her family, Lucy has had a lot of support from the Mount Pleasant Pony club with whom she has ridden for many years.

President of the Club, Brad French said when Lucy joined she was coached to improve her techniques and skill.

“Lucy put a lot of hard work into learning the key factors.”

“There’s a basic technique and then you develop your own little knack and she was happy to see different sides and try different things.

“It takes a lot of skill to ride a horse because they’ve got a mind of their own and you have to encourage them to do what you want.

“A passion for the sport is what we see in her and the natural ability along with a keenness to learn.

“She’s really picked up mentors here who are better and strive to compete with an ambition.”

Brad said Lucy’s willingness to put in a lot of hard work and pitch in with all the ground work as well is admirable.

“She’s got a very good horse but that’s because she’s put a lot of good work into that horse,” Brad said.

Lucy and her team will be traveling to Belgium next next month to compete in the European Mounted Games which are known for being one of the bigger and best.

Already used to representing her country on the world stage, it is no surprise that Lucy has aspirations to compete as an Olympian.

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